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Many projects use and Arduino as the "Brains" to control and communicate with the project. The Arduino is an open platform for building customized and programable electronic projects. The good news there is there is a very large community of people on all levels of experience to get help from.

As a new user the Arduino can be intimidating. It uses one of the original and most basic forms of computer communication "serial". This is a stream of communication over a "comport", I.E. Com3 or Com5. Just like communicating with a person you need the right phone number the first step to communicating with an Arduino you need the right Comport number.

Depending on the Operating System of the computer, there are different implementations of serial communication.

While tedious one of the quickest ways to clear up a problem with a "Comport Conflict" is just rebooting the computer.

In the Arduino IDE there settings under the Tools menu for Board, and Port along with other settings but these two are the ones we want to concentrate on.

Typically you can get a list of any comport based hardware that was pugged in and recognized by the computer at the time you started the Arduino IDE. If you plug a Arduino in after you open the software you may need to restart the Arduino IDE or even the PC.

To see what is recognized go to Tools->Ports. You should see a list of what the computer has connected. In my case I see Mega 5260 com5.

In Windows the Comport can be any number from 1 to 99 typically. Most often it is within the first 10 numbers.

So in our Example we have found the Port or comport number - it is 5. That is only half the battle.

Once you are connected to the port you will open a "terminal", that is a fancy way of saying a window that shows serial data moving over a serail connection.

These communications can take place at different speeds. If the board is set to communicate at one speed and the computer another the terminal window will either display nothing or random characters that look like gibberish until the speeds match. Some common speeds are 9600, 57600,115200.

In the Arduino IDE the Terminal Window is opened by clicking the Icon in the upper right of the IDE, it looks like a magnifying glass. At the bottom of the Terminal window is a pulldown for setting the speed.

Below are the steps to perform a basic test of a Arduino communicating with the computer it's connected to in a visual way using the terminal.


"Open the Arduino IDE - make sure the correct port is selected.

In the Arduino IDE go to files -> examples->basic->AnalogReadSerial

Then upload this file to your Arduino by clicking the right arrow icon at the top of the IDE program next to the check mark.

Once it finishes uploading click the square in the Upper right corner as shown in the picture below.

This will open the terminal window and should display a random group of numbers. If you are not seeing the numbers check the communication speed is 9600. This is shown in the lower right of the terminal window. It has a pull down if you need to change it to 9600 baud.

The goal is to get the window scrolling numbers"

Assuming this is successful you have a good connection and can proceed with your projects programing, for instance on the Maslow it's the Firmware. Fora 3D printer it might be loading Marlin.

If you are having problems you can always reach out to us on the contact us page:

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Page last modified on April 02, 2018, at 03:27 PM EST